June 2001

Led by song-smith Leeson O’Keeffe (formerly of Shane MacGowan’s Popes), NECK are a 6-piece London – Irish band playing PSYCHO-CEILÍDH: Their songs reflect emigrant and 2nd-generation Irish life; combining the rip-roaring spiritual abandon of Irish songs and tunes with the vibrant electric guitar driven energy of Punk Rock; evident in the line-up of whistle, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, drums and vocals – the overall effect is one of total release!

An extensive live schedule has taken their adrenaline-fuelled show all over Britain, Ireland, Europe and the U.S.A.. Each year they play at numerous festivals, including Britains’ biggest – Glastonbury 2000. Plus, gigs with the likes of The Frames, Kila, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, The Popes & ,in 2000, Black 47, The Levellers on their Isle of Wight weekender and playing at Londons’ Mean Fiddler final night party with Shane MacGowan and The Popes, The Men T. C. H., Edwyn Collins and Eddie Reader have helped expand the NECK following. On the day that really matters-St. Patrick’s Day – they kicked off their busy 1999 itinerary by playing live on top GB DJ Chris Evan’s breakfast show on Virgin Radio and Sky TV (both National), topping that in 2000 at London’s Millennium Dome.

NECK have played numerous live sessions on radio stations in London (i.e.GLR), Dublin and New York, as well as on Dutch T.V. and have appeared performing 2 songs in the Belfast-set motion picture “With or Without You” (Film Four, 2000) starring Christopher Ecclestone (Shallow Grave) and Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel).

Added to all this, NECK have a very high profile in the Irish press in Britain, with the U.S. folk music and Irish press following suit: New York’s Irish Voice listed them joint 6th in their Top Ten Irish releases of 2000-which included the likes of U2 and Sinead O’Connor! Following two tours in 2000, college and Irish radio in the U.S. are picking up on the band as well, with airplay and live sessions.

2001 has begun with a vengeance:-with a Southern U.S. tour(including Nashville, Savannah and The Carolinas) ;a hectic St.Patrick’s weekend highlighted by going-on after Ed Byrne at Londons’ 1,500 capacity Hackney Empire ; and a tour of Ireland (with gigs in Belfast, Derry, Donegal and Dublin)with a live session on Irish-language Dublin station Raidio na Life, already undertaken. Individually too, NECK’s musicians are gaining recognition, with whistle-player Marie McCormack in demand for solo recitals, while Leeson and fiddler Marion Gray guested with The Alabama 3 at The Camden Underworld. That’s with all three maintaining a well-known presence on the London traditional Irish session circuit!

So in summing-up:this infectious, exhilarating marriage of music and mayhem means that, at least in this case, excess is definitely more!

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